What's the future for this British baby?

Updated: 2013-07-25 09:30

By Tom Clifford (China Daily)

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A boy was born in Britain.

What's the future for this British baby?

Britain's new prince named George Alexander Louis

His mother will try to give him as normal a childhood as possible. She knows it will be difficult, but her determination has won admirers and her friends are determined to help out, as best they can. Few actually believe she can achieve this goal.

She is excited about his prospects but also worried. He may join the army. That's what many of his relatives did. He came from a family that served. She is pretty sure what school he will go to, again tradition will play a role.

His future will be mapped out, that she understands and accepts, by forces far beyond her control. But she still wants him to have a say in the direction of his life.

She won't be around as much as she wants and his dad will be largely absent, despite the repeated, well-meaning assurances he utters in the first glow of fatherhood. This is a family not used to seeing fathers helping out with changing nappies and doing odd chores around the house. Times change, but in her heart she knows they don't change that much for people like her.

Social commentators are adamant that they can predict with near certainty what this baby boy will do in later life. However, she knows Britain is not a country where birth or rearing children is usually celebrated.

Barely has he had his first feed but begrudgers across the land are already stating that he and his family are a drain on the public purse.

Get a proper job they shout, do something, do not just live high on the hog as taxpayers fund your lavish lifestyle. Their accommodation, which some papers describe as opulent, has not gone down well in a country where austerity is a part of the political lexicon.

She knows that to some her son will be a symbol, to others he will be an object of contempt and ridicule. His accent will allow many the opportunity to label him unfairly and presume to know his ambitions and limitations.

She is relishing being alone with him in the coming days but realizes that society demands certain things of her. Some call it sacrifice. She calls it what it is: work.

Her employer, from whom she gets money under the counter, has given her a week's unpaid maternity leave. But the government announced that her housing and heating benefits will be cut, as will the single mother's allowance.

She knows the statistics are damning. That the poorest section of society in Britain is the 1.9 million single parents and their 3 million children, that 46 percent exist below the poverty line, and that, despite the strident voices saying otherwise, just 3 percent of single mothers are teenagers, 55 percent had children within marriage and 57 percent are employed, according to statistics from Gingerbread, a British charity for single parents, and the country's Child Support Agency.

When she was recuperating in the public ward she heard that the Duchess of Cambridge had given birth. Her son was born the same day. She wished the future king well.

The author is a senior writer with China Daily.

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